Dear Therapist:

My daughter has just left for a year of seminary in Eretz Yisroel. I am concerned about the amount of time she is spending in her just married, shana reshona, sister’s house. She has only been in Yerushalayim the last few weeks but, by all accounts, she is spending way too much time there.  I know it's early but I want to deal with this before it becomes an issue. This doesn't seem to bother either of my daughters but I am concerned about the impact this will have on the newlyweds' relationship. Am I overreacting? How would you recommend dealing with it?



It seems that your concern is with regard to your newly-married daughter’s marriage. You didn’t specify the type of negative impact about which you’re concerned.

Every marriage—and indeed every relationship—has its own unique characteristics. Theoretically, in one instance your younger daughter’s continual presence might cause resentment on the part of your son-in-law. He could feel neglected. He might feel like a third wheel to your daughters’ close relationship. He could feel resentful of the time and emotional energy being afforded someone else within the honeymoon period of their marriage.

If this were the case, and your son-in-law was not comfortable discussing his sentiments with your daughters, he could extrapolate his feelings of resentment to include other areas that otherwise might not affect him. If your married daughter similarly felt uncomfortable discussing her concerns with her sister, she could be similarly affected.

Another theoretical possibility is that your son-in-law enjoys having your younger daughter around. He might feel more connected to his wife’s family, and therefore to his wife. It could be a positive experience for him to develop different types of relationships with each of your daughters. This might lead to a closer connection between your daughters and it might help to strengthen the marital relationship.

Another possibility is that your older daughter and her husband are comfortable within their relationship with one another. They may be able to automatically separate their marital relationship from other relationships. They may be perfectly fine with your younger daughter’s constant presence simply because they don’t view it as related to their own relationship.

Of course, these possible scenarios all assume many things in terms of personality, emotions, sensitivity, insecurities, and the natures of the relationships involved. If you recognize that you may be projecting your own feelings onto your daughter and son-in-law, it’s important to detach this from your view of the situation. This will help you to objectively identify any specific problems that you think may arise. If you believe that there may be a problem, your objective standpoint and the nature of your relationships with those involved will help to guide you toward an appropriate response.

Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW

  psychotherapist in private practice

 Brooklyn, NY   |   Far Rockaway, NY

 author of Self-Esteem: A Primer / 718-258-5317


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